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ARCO Flight Tracks

November, 1996
Vol. 3, Issue 4

Your source for information concerning events and issues involving O'Hare Airport

 


Your Voice Is Heard

 O'HARE RANKS AS MAJOR POLLUTER: "LIKE HAVING A POWER PLANT AS A NEIGHBOR"

Air, Noise and Water Pollution At U.S. Airports Projected To Rise As Air Travel Soars

 The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report showing for the first time that U.S. airports are major sources of air, water and noise pollution, but are excluded from many of the rules that equally polluting industries must follow. The report examines pollution from the 50 busiest airports in the nation including O'Hare and Midway Airports.

Titled Flying Off Course: Environmental Impacts of America's Airports compares the air pollution emissions of airports in the Chicagoland region to other major industrial sources in the area.

Among NRDC's recommendations is replacing the 10% domestic ticket tax with an aviation fuel tax. These changes would have no financial impact on consumers, but would encourage the use of newer, cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient planes.

NRDC Report also covers Noise Pollution and Land Use, Ground -Level Air Emissions, De-icing and Water Quality, Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

ARCO was the spokesperson for the NRDC Report in the Midwest. Copies of this report are available through the NRDC at 212/727-2700.

 


 

SOC Airs O'Hare Health Fears

Park Ridge Mayor Ronald Wietecha recently requested from the Illinois EPA a list of Toxic and Hazardous Air Pollutants emitted from O'Hare Airport and their impact on the air that we breathe around O'Hare.

The letter requested the IEPA's calculation of the tons per day emissions from O'Hare including toxic and hazardous chemicals. Based on current information and discussions with the IEPA, the following preliminary observations were established: 

  • Toxic pollutants from O'Hare include Benzene, Formaldehyde and many other compounds known or suspected to cause cancer, respiratory illnesses, birth defects, and other toxic effects on humans. 
  • O'Hare is most likely the largest single location of emission of hazardous and toxic air pollutants in the state. It far exceeds the emission of hazardous and toxic air pollutants by any of the largest industrial emission sources in the state. 
  • Despite long-standing concerns by citizens living around O'Hare, the IEPA has yet to conduct any comprehensive study of the concentrations of these toxic compounds generated by O'Hare into the communities. 
  • Communities have a right to know the full and accurate volumes and concentrations of toxic and hazardous emissions generated at O'Hare.
  • Based on a study done at Midway airport (which generates far less toxic and hazardous air pollutants than O'Hare), it appears that the level of O'Hare generated toxic pollutants likely results in ambient air concentrations of toxic and hazardous pollutants in our communities that have cancer risks higher than those allowed at federal Superfund sites. This means that residents breathe toxic air generated by O'Hare airport with cancer risks greater than would be allowed at a federally regulated toxic waste dump. 
  • The IEPA emphasized that O'Hare emissions appeared to be in compliance with NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards). However, these standards do not address specific health risks presented by the toxic and hazardous air pollutants like Benzene and Formaldehyde.  
  • The available evidence indicates that current levels of operations at O'Hare creates toxic ambient air concentrations in our communities above acceptable levels. Further, proposed expansion of O'Hare operations will only make an already intolerable toxic ambient air situation even worse.

 SOC called on the IEPA to develop a plan that will measure the actual and ambient toxic and hazardous air pollutant emissions from O'Hare and their effect. Finally, the IEPA should develop and implement a control program that reduces those hazardous and toxic emissions from O'Hare to lower health compatible levels.

 


 

Bits and Pieces...

Did You Know?

  • The area heavily polluted by O'Hare extends 40 to 50 miles out from O'Hare.
  • According to the 1993 EPA Study of Midway Airport: Airplane engines alone are responsible for 10.5% of the cancer risks in that area.
  • O'Hare has more than three times more flights using much larger aircraft than Midway.

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O'Hare Enhancement Spells More Flights

 ARCO learned recently that some of the new and planned O'Hare construction may be in violation of the Clean Air Act. ARCO fears that any construction concerning O'Hare Airport for "capacity enhancement", more flights, would further deteriorate the region's air quality. ARCO action pending.

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Property Value Update

FAA signals are now mixed as to whether they will require O'Hare affected property owners to title their property as "Disclosure". A suit against NJ Realtors might require Realtors to inform buyers of "Disclosure" of defective property.

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 Congress Cuts Noise Mitigation Funding

 Congress cut funding for the FAA's Airport Improvement Program, for airport noise mitigation projects. Analysts estimate it could be around $30 million less than the $180 million budgeted last year.

Some experts believe this is may be a reason why the Daley Noise Commission's main purpose is to limit liability and to scale the Noise Mitigation Program back to the level of 65DNL. According to the FAA, sound mitigation is currently required to a 45dBa level under certain conditions, such as school soundproofing projects. With a 65DNL, Daley's Commission could basically stop all soundproofing projects that are located beyond four or five miles of O'Hare.

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Do you have a friend or neighbor who might be interested in receiving information about us? Call 630/415-3370 and leave their name and address.

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News Flash

Look for an article that includes ARCO in the December issue of Redbook.

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Europe Demands Change

Control of aircraft noise and pollution will impact worldwide airport development in the future, an expert from Europe's Airports Council International told a seminar in Casablanca.

Dr. Callum Thomas explained that the airport industry faced more environmental pressures that would continue to influence future development of airports around the world. This could force all travel between major cities in Europe being made by High Speed Rail and not aircraft. Environment is seen as the key to future development.

Even though demand for air travel increases, people have a lower tolerance of noise and pollution. Some European airports had to close at night, with many facing restrictions on operations.

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US Delays Higher Air Standard

The International Civil Aviation Organization is currently considering tightening aviation emission standards by an additional 16%. While European nations already support tougher standards, the US is calling for further study.

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According to an NRDC Study

Airports and aircraft "...are getting a free ride on the backs of other industrial polluters." State and local regulators will have to place further restrictions on other industries as a result of additional flights not being controlled. Airlines and airports are left unchecked when it comes to emitting toxins and hazardous emissions.

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Upcoming Events

  • Dec. 5, ARCO Meeting, Heritage Park 7:30 PM
  • Dec. 17 IEPA Hearing, Maine East, Park Ridge 7:00 PM
  •  Jan. 2, ARCO Meeting, Heritage Park 7:30 PM

 (ARCO meetings -- Heritage Park is located at Fernandez and Victoria in Arlington Heights, IL)

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24 Hour Noise Hotline

Whenever noise affects your quality of life, call this Hotline:

Governor's Office..........800/642-3112

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Note: ARCO Flight Tracks is published by the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare, Inc. If you would like to become a member, or recieve our newsletter, call, or write to the address below. Annual membership is only $10.00 per household. Comments and questions should be sent to:

ARCO, Inc.
PO Box 1702
Arlington Heights, IL 60006-1702 

Phone: 630/415-3370
E-mail: jsaporito@aol